Throughout history, the witch was often a symbol for a woman who lives by her own terms, and embraces or embodies the traits, thoughts, or behaviors that the rest of the social group or society want to embrace, but do not, for fear of stepping outside the normative established culture.

Witches were often very independent women. Witches were women who marched to their own beat. Witches were women who didn’t need men to run their lives. They made their own way.

And they were a threat to a heavily patriarchal society systematically created, built, implemented, and maintained by organized religions, all of which promoted the concept of the one (male) god.

No more divine feminine for you guys. And while we’re at it, let’s burn anyone who disagrees.

Estimates of the number of (mostly) women (but some men and children) who were persecuted and murdered during the witch hunts of history across the world put the total number of deaths between 100,000 and 1 million people.

It wasn’t until the 1950s that the UK even formally and officially de-criminalized witchcraft.

But despite these advances in religious freedoms in the Western world, there are still many societies where the practice of witchcraft remains outlawed. And what constitutes witchcraft can vary widely from place to place.

In the United States, there has been a resurgence of interest and embrace of the Old Ways since the 1940s, with everything from Wicca, to Paganism, to Satanism, to Druidry and beyond finding its way back into the milieu of belief systems and personal practices.

With this explosion of self-expression through religious or spiritual beliefs, we now find ourselves in an era where its totally okay to be a witch (at least, that’s what you want to believe). Some friends of mine that live in certain parts of the US still experience social ostracism, harassment, and even threats for openly practicing their religious beliefs that do not jive with the majority Christian system that persists here.

If you fall into that category, just know that you’re not alone. The beautiful thing ab0ut the Internet these days is that where we lack physical community and fellowship, we can find loads of it virtually.

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